ELA Common Core Standards in Illinois

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

The Common Core standards for English language arts provide an outline for consistent education across the country and have been adopted by Illinois. Continue reading to learn what's included in the Common Core standards and find out how they're being implemented in this state.

Objectives of Illinois ELA Standards

In an effort to help students develop the literacy and communication skills that will propel them through all aspects of life, the state of Illinois integrated the Common Core standards for English language arts into its Illinois Learning Standards. These standards are regimented in a way that builds upon progressing levels of difficulty and prioritizes the development of real-world literacy skills that impact growth in all subjects.

Illinois is implementing three instructional shifts that reflect the unique ways in which the state aims to help students meet these learning objectives. Below are outlines of these instructional shifts along with some helpful resources that focus on the corresponding Common Core standards.

Balanced Reading Material

Ensuring that students can read and understand various materials is crucial to their success. To accomplish this, the Illinois standards dictate that students be exposed to a balanced yet diverse blend of reading material. Initially, students will study an even amount of literature and nonfiction works, but as grade levels increase, greater emphasis will be given to informational and nonfiction texts. Literary classics will still be prominent in the curriculum for each grade, however.

The biggest change in Illinois' ELA standards is how these materials will be approached in class. Rather than have students touch upon a vast amount of texts, the emphasis will be placed on taking more time to study fewer materials. This will allow deeper study and the chance to focus more closely on the reading at hand. Resources designed to help students develop these close reading skills include:

Critical Reading and Writing

The ability to think critically and analyze information are crucial skills for higher-level learning and career success. ELA instruction under the Illinois standards will help students develop these skills by showing them how to delve into written materials and pinpoint key details that shape the whole piece. Students will also gather the evidence needed to synthesize an argument through writing exercises and essays. The goal is for students to make original claims in their essays and corroborate them up by citing examples and quotes. Critical reading and writing resources aligned with these standards include:


The third instructional shift is to expand student vocabulary. Students must be familiar with words of varying complexity and their uses in different contexts. Strong vocabulary knowledge will not only help students effectively express themselves, but also allow them to read and interpret the different kinds of information presented in each of their classes. As grade levels increase, so will the difficulty of the vocabulary. Students must understand and successfully utilize new words as they progress. Check out the following resources available to help students meet these language standards:

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